Radar Performance Monitoring Using the Angular Width of the Solar Image

Asko Huuskonen Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland

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Mikko Kurri Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland

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Harri Hohti Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland

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Hans Beekhuis Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), De Bilt, Netherlands

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Hidde Leijnse Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), De Bilt, Netherlands

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Iwan Holleman Institute for Molecules and Materials, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, Netherlands

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Abstract

A method for the operational monitoring of the weather radar antenna mechanics and signal processing is presented. The method is based on the analysis of sun signals in the polar volume data produced during the operational scanning of weather radars. Depending on the hardware of the radar, the volume coverage pattern, the season, and the latitude of the radar, several tens of sun hits are found per day. The method is an extension of that for determining the weather radar antenna pointing and for monitoring the receiver stability and the differential reflectivity offset. In the method the width of the sun image in elevation and in azimuth is analyzed from the data, together with the center point position and the total power, analyzed in the earlier methods. This paper describes how the width values are obtained in the majority of cases without affecting the quality of the position and power values. Results from the daily analysis reveal signal processing features and failures that are difficult to find out otherwise in weather data. Moreover, they provide a tool for monitoring the stability of the antenna system, and hence the method has great potential for routine monitoring of radar signal processing and the antenna mechanics. Hence, it is recommended that the operational solar analysis be extended into the analysis of the width.

Corresponding author address: Asko Huuskonen, Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, Helsinki SF-00101, Finland. E-mail: asko.huuskonen@fmi.fi

Abstract

A method for the operational monitoring of the weather radar antenna mechanics and signal processing is presented. The method is based on the analysis of sun signals in the polar volume data produced during the operational scanning of weather radars. Depending on the hardware of the radar, the volume coverage pattern, the season, and the latitude of the radar, several tens of sun hits are found per day. The method is an extension of that for determining the weather radar antenna pointing and for monitoring the receiver stability and the differential reflectivity offset. In the method the width of the sun image in elevation and in azimuth is analyzed from the data, together with the center point position and the total power, analyzed in the earlier methods. This paper describes how the width values are obtained in the majority of cases without affecting the quality of the position and power values. Results from the daily analysis reveal signal processing features and failures that are difficult to find out otherwise in weather data. Moreover, they provide a tool for monitoring the stability of the antenna system, and hence the method has great potential for routine monitoring of radar signal processing and the antenna mechanics. Hence, it is recommended that the operational solar analysis be extended into the analysis of the width.

Corresponding author address: Asko Huuskonen, Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, Helsinki SF-00101, Finland. E-mail: asko.huuskonen@fmi.fi
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